24th Mar 2020 in Arts

The COVID-19 health crisis has forced most Cathedral Quarter organisations to shut their doors and/or dramatically change how they do things.

The famous streets of the CQ currently lie quiet, but we have gathered together a list of some of the ways you can continue to support your favourite CQ Belfast venues, restaurants, traders, retailers and businesses during this uncertain time.

All pics: Carrie Davenport Photography 

Gift vouchers

Buying a gift voucher now to spend when your favourite restaurant, bar, shop or salon opens their doors again is an easy way to get much-needed cash to businesses while you’re unable to physically spend your money with them.

Many CQ businesses and organisations offer this facility online, so search for your favourite, and maybe drop them a line to see if they can take payments over the phone.

We will be compiling a full list of all CQ businesses offering gift vouchers. If you are, or know of, a Cathedral Quarter Belfast business or organisation offering online/over the phone gift vouchers, please let us know.

Donations and memberships

Many of the CQ’s charities, community groups and grassroots arts organisations and venues face a particularly tough time ahead without support. The Black Box – who as well as being one of our top arts venues, run and facilitate a number of community arts projects both for and by those with learning disabilities – accept donations.

Black Box Membership is another wonderful way to not only support this important cultural institution, but to bag loads of fab perks and freebies and it is just £45 / £35 concession.

You can find many other wonderful arts and community organisations and charities who would be very grateful of your support in our Directory under ‘Arts Culture & Entertainment’ and ‘Community & Non-Profit’. If you are a CQ non-profit who would like us to highlight the ways people can support you right now, please drop us a line.

Shop online

There are loads of CQ shops who already offer fantastic online shopping options, such as Make Up Pro Store, Hex Bomb, Jackson Sports ,  and Eliott’s Fancy Dress to name but a few.

Many other businesses and organisations have pivoted into the online space to sell their goods and services, from food delivery to jewellery to coffee. Check it all out in our article about the many ways the Cathedral Quarter has gone online.

If there are any we have missed, just let us know.

Social media and mailing lists

With most of us indoors, working from home and using the online world for connection and entertainment, the digital space is about to get pretty busy, with a lot of content being produced by people and organisations who have no other way to get their work or their message out there.

Follow your favourite traders, venues and organisations on social media and make sure to enable notifications so that you know when they post. Interact with and share their posts to help them reach more people. This will not only help them get vital messages out there, but help them build their online audiences which will stand them in good stead once it’s ‘business as usual’ again.

Check their websites and sign up to their mailing lists. This will keep you in the loop with any news, offers and alternative ways to enjoy what they offer and again helps to build their audience ahead of reopening in future.

Holly Wilson from Belfast Cathedral

Don’t ask for refunds

Obviously this comes with a large caveat of “if that’s possible for you” because we know many people face uncertain futures and cashflow situations right now. That said, if it’s feasible and the organisation allows you the option, consider donating the ticket price of any cancelled events to the venue or performer.

If you have any holidays or tourism bookings, consider rescheduling rather than cancelling and allowing companies to hold on to deposits and pre-payments.

Streaming, CDs, merch, online tip jars and social support

Many of the musical acts and performers who rely on a busy, thriving Cathedral Quarter for gigs are now exploring alternative ways to get their art, music and shows to you digitally. We’ve seen gigs, workshops and lessons all being offered online.

Follow your favourites on social media, hit ‘love’ or ‘wow’ on their posts rather than just liking (this can help them reach more people) and make sure to leave supportive comments and tag any friends who might enjoy their music or art. If you can, buy CDs, books, artwork and merch from them online and find out if they have a Patreon or a PayPal ‘tip jar’.

Check Eventbrite and Facebook Events to see if any of the acts you usually enjoy in the CQ are hosting online events or broadcasts.

Please get in touch if there is anything you think should be added to this article – email heather@cathedralquarterbelfast.com

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